The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 62, No. 8, Ed. 1 Thursday, October 3, 1974 Page: 2 of 16
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the rice Ihreeher
While President Hackerman's "State of the University"
speech was a nice gesture, actually it was very little more
than that — a polite ritual, designed to appease rather than
to interchange ideas.
Hackerman's talk exploded no bombshells. The ques-
tions and answers might as well have been taken from the
reports of last year's session. Students seemed to sense
(as was painfully evident from the paltry turnout in the
Grand Hall) that things here Rice are about the same as
In a sense the fact that there wasn't much news coming
out of the Wednesday gathering could be easily misunder-
stood. Were we a bit more simple-minded, we might
imagine that the Great Machine of Higher Education was
running perfectly smoothly.
The "State of the University" speech is, in concept, a
good idea. As a general discussion of trends, efforts, and
activities it could be useful for summarizing Rice's progress
during the past twelve months.
However, such a once-a-year event can never be a substi-
tute for more frequent and more meaningful communica-
tions between the President and students.
Wednesday's speech became, as it invariably must under
the present structure, a one-way channel of information.
None of the give-and-take attitude which is so important
to a mutual interchange of ideas was evident at this most
recent effort. The question and answer session more close-
ly resembled an adversary process than an attempt at
In fact there is no need for such cool antagonism
between students and administrators. We share a common
interest: the welfare of this university.
Dr. Hackerman does deserve credit for attempting to
make himself more accessible to students. His office is
open for anyone to air their complaints or suggestions per-
sonally; unfortunately, many students do not take advan-
tage of this opportunity.
Here is the difficulty: most students are very absorbed
with their scVioolwork, or tolerant of Rice's problems, or
else feel that their opinions carry little weight.
Thus, a large part of the burden of opening channels of
communications must be carried by the President himself.
- One possibility which comes to mind immediately is
that President Hackerman could eat several meals in the
colleges each week. This alone would provide much direct
contact with students; such an arrangement has already
worked very successfully to - provide casual faculty-
Only through frequent, relaxed-atmosphere contacts
with students can Dr. Hackerman learn directly about
students' interests and concerns.
TWO CHlCkTeh** IK4 EVGQV POT^MO...,
•John Anderson Associate Editor
Nancy Taibenslag Associate Editor
Jo Simpson Chief of Production
Kevin Campbell Advertising Manager
Mark Linimon Acting Calendar Editor
Forest Davenport Back Page Editor
Mike McClure Graphics Editor
Dana Blankenhorn Circulation and Sports
Gary Vyas Sports
Emily Hobbit Coffman
Staff: Danna Bledsoe, Ron Miller, Wiley Sanders, Debbie
Davies, Connie Dressner, Beth Quarles, Philip Parker,
Doug Peck, Lee Sowers, Shannon Vale, Vaughan Johnson,
Linda Eichblatt, Elaine Bonilla, Hannes Vogel, Manu
Hinduja, John Edwards, Jim Carls, Bonnie Gershon,
Ruthie Melton, Tom Whittaker, Carolena Houze, David
Blythe, I arbara Morris, Leslie Lauderdale, Brian Watson,
Ann Leavesley, Andrew Blakeney, Susan Goodson,
Thomas Zimmerman, Susie Davis, Claude Sisson, Dennis
Abbe, Michael Thannisch, Adelaide Moorman, Carter
fJavis, Randy Kelley, Carol Mcjpnney, Debbie Ostermarj,
Glen Radcliffe, H. David Danglo, Paul Alley, Deby Wyatt.
The Rice Thresher, the official student newspaper of Rice University
since 1916, is published weekly on Thursdays during the school year
except during examination periods and holidays be the students of Rice
University, Houston, Texas, 77001, telephone 528-414J ext. 221. Adver-
tising rates available ton request. Subscription price $15 per year, mailed
out first class. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of
anyone except the writers. Obviously.
Abysmal academic standards
by PAUL HAMMON
"Here we are again folks, for another big Saturday afternoon of NCAA
'And now the starting lineups for today's game between Oklahoma and
Whatsamata U. For Oklahoma, starting at quarterback and majoring in
Oil Well Finance, Jack Mildew."
"Yes, not only is Jack a fine football player, but he's also an Academic
"What? Oil Well Finance? Holy Corpus Christi!"
An exaggerated scene? Sure-
ly. And at Rice, where we like
to call ourselves the "Harvard of
the South," nothing like that
could happen. Right? Well, don't
be too sure, weanies. Only a few
years ago, Rice had a full-
fledged, restricted program for
athletes known as the Commerce
Department. And today? Well,
Commerce is on its last legs, but
before we start talking about all
that academic excellence that
goes on behind the hedges,
maybe we should take a look at
a few things.
Iti a confidential study pre-
pared by Greg White (a Rice
graduate working in the admis-
sions office) and presented to
Dr. Hackerman, it was reported
that the average combined SAT
scores of the lowest quarter of
admitted scholarship athletes for
the classes of 1974 through
1977 were 871,800, 789, and
707, respectively. Furthermore,
the majority of these "high-risk"
athletes do not stay at Rice past
their sophomore year. This
information was made available
in the recent Self Study report.
Mr. Richard Stabell, Assistant
to the President for Admissions
and Records, outlined the re-
mainder of White's study. He
said that one-third of the schol-
arship athletes had high school
records and SAT scores compar-
able with the rest of Rice stu-
dents. This top group did not
perform outstanding academic
work, but neither were they in
any sort of academic trouble.
However, the middle group
did just well enough in their
studies to remain eligible to play
The Self Study also report-
ed,"In recent years . . . the Ath-
letic Department has not main-
tained adequate academic in the
selection of athletes. Moreover,
in these years the Director of
Admissions has not received any
information about the candi-
dates "Until formal admission was
a fait accompli."
According to one faculty
member, the passage above re-
fers to the-fact that the one year
he was here at Rice Bill Peterson
failed to give the admissions
office a Isit of the new recruits
who were receiving football
scholarships until the end of
This effectively put pressure
on the administration to accept
-the football players Petersgn
wanted without criticism.
Dr. Hackerman has indicated,
through the Sports Committee
Chairman Dr. James Castaneda,
that because of White's study, he
had instituted changes in the ad-
missions procedure of athletes,
and that the trend of lower SAT
scores would be reversed.
Stabell outlined the new pro-
cedure: before the coaches can
contact any potential recruit,
they must present the transcript
of his high school work to Sta-
bell. He then reviews the trans-
cript with emphasis on courses
taken, grades, and either SAT or
ACT scores. If Stabell thinks the
applicant will pass at Rice, he
gives the coaches a "yes" to go
ahead and recruit him. If the
applicant's chances for success
appear shaky, Stabell gives a
"maybe" and the coaches can
take thier chances. Stabell can
also give a "no." However, the
"no" decision can be appealed
to the Chairman of the Sports
Committee. If the chairman also
said "no," ttf&n the appeal could
go to Hackerman himself.
Stabell said his "no" decision
had been reversed "about three
or four "times," but he did not
specify by whom. Stabell also
said that he paid "no attention,
and really did not know about,,,
the athletic ability" of the indiv-
idual players. But he always
found out "who was good when
a 'no' v6te was appealed by the
Castaneda differed with Sta-
bell 's account in one respect. He
said that the formal appeals pro-
cedure would stop with his '
decision and not go on to the
President. Castaneda said that in
the past the coaches might go to
"Hackerman about a particular
individual who could turn the
program around," but did so on-
ly because of the President's
the rice thresher, october 3, 1974 — page 2
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Brewton, Gary. The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 62, No. 8, Ed. 1 Thursday, October 3, 1974, newspaper, October 3, 1974; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth245203/m1/2/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University Woodson Research Center.